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Tamil Nadu minister gets three years in a 1998-arson case, stands disqualified

Dharani Thangavelu
Reddy who represents the Hosur constituency will remain disqualified and stands to lose his legislator and minister post with immediate effect

Chennai: A special court in Chennai convicted P. Balakrishna Reddy, Tamil Nadu minister for youth welfare and sports development, on Monday and awarded three years of imprisonment under the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act in a 1998 riot case.

Of the 106 accused in the case, 16 were convicted.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs.10,500 for rioting and damage to public property in 1998. While the court suspended the sentence and granted bail soon after the verdict, the minister stands convicted and disqualified.

Based on the Supreme Court's 2013 verdict that the MPs and MLAs convicted of any offence and attracting a punishment of two years or above would be disqualified immediately from holding their respective offices.

Reddy who represents the Hosur constituency will remain disqualified and stands to lose his legislator and minister post with immediate effect. He will move the Madras high court on Tuesday.

The disqualification of the minister would increase the number of vacant seats in Tamil Nadu's 234-member assembly to 21. The other constituencies that are awaiting by-elections are the 18 constituencies where MLAs were disqualified for showing allegiance to T.T.V. Dhinakaran which was later upheld by the Madras HC and, the two more seats that fell vacant after Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. Karunanidhi's and ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) legislator A.K. Bose's death.

Reddy was also recently named in a land grabbing case when a resident of Hosur taluk of Krishnagiri district moved the Madras high court in September stating that the land belonging to her family was illegally transferred to the family members of the minister.

On Monday evening, following the court order, chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami held an urgent meeting with senior members.